River Monitoring Stations Launched During World Water Day

Stakeholders of the Upper Tana Nairobi Water Fund interact with the river monitoring system during the launch

The effect of climate change globally is taking a toll on water resources. Many communities are experiencing receding water levels in reservoirs, rivers, and lakes as temperatures rise, and rainfall patterns shift.

To effectively and efficiently manage the depleting water resource, the Water Research and Resource Center (WARREC) based at JKUAT in collaboration with Water Resource Authority and The Nature Conservancy (TNC), installed 6 telemetric river gauging stations in the rivers feeding Ndakaini and Sasuma dams. The stations were launched during the World Water Day celebrations in Ndakaini Dam, March 22, 2019.

The initiative being implemented through the Upper Tana Nairobi Water Fund will see the stations monitor the conductivity, serenity, levels and temperature of the 6 rivers in the Upper Tana basin.

The Water Fund Advisor for TNC’s Africa Programme, Mr. Fred Kihara, said the installation of the stations will greatly enhance the maintenance and analysis of regular flow of water throughout the year.

Mr. Kihara (right) confers with Prof. Mati and Dr. Hanspeter Liniger, Senior researcher at the University of Bern, Center for Development and Environment. Dr. Liniger was Prof. Mati PhD Supervisor.

“This will help in planning and projection of water resources in the basin and accurately and effectively monitor the dams’ levels. The accuracy and real-time data collected will play a significant role in mitigating the challenges and increase downstream water quality and quantity as well as providing positive benefits for tens of thousands of farmers in the watershed,” said Mr. Kihara.

WARREC Director, Prof. Bancy Mati acknowledged the biophysical data collected from the stations will not only be vital in water research and knowledge management but will also be critical in influencing and formulation of water management policies in the country.

“For the future and sustainability of water conservation efforts, we need to invest in post-graduate students to carry out research,” observed Prof. Mati adding, that with temperature rise and rainfall patterns shift, there is need to radically think of where the water for the next generation will come from and start investing in water harvesting and ground water.

On his part, Ag. Managing Director, Nairobi City Water & Sewerage Company (NCWSC), Eng. Nahason Muguna said, the stations will allow the company to save on resources and make timely prudent management decisions in the company’s day-to-day operations.

Tree planting exercise at Ndakaini Primary School

The celebrations themed ‘Leaving no one behind’, also saw a tree planting exercise to improve the vegetation cover around the area to reduce water run-off during the rainy season.

“It is important to sensitize local communities about the relevance of tree planting around catchment areas to enable them save our future generation and continue the journey of sustainable water resource management,” said Eng. Muguna in a speech delivered by  NCWSC Corporate Affairs Manager, Mr. Mbaruku Vyakweli.

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